In our solar system, there are 8 planets; Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and there’s the controversial dwarf planet Pluto, who some people still believe should have remained a planet.
Every planet in our solar system rotates around the nucleus of our solar system; our sun. Each planet rotates around the sun at a different pace. And while we know much about our neighbor Mars, we are a little less well acquainted with our other neighbor Venus.
So, what do we know about Venus, and how does this planet travel around our sun?
All About Venus
Ven though our pale neighbor is not the closest planet to the sun, it is the hottest. You might think that Mercury or Mars is the hottest due to their red hot visuals, but Venus is indeed even hotter.
Venus has a thick atmosphere which is full of greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, and clouds made of sulfuric acid. The gas traps heat and keeps Venus toasty hot. Venus is actually so hot that if you were to find metal there such a lead, it would be melted into a liquid form.
Venus is relatively similar in size to earth, with the earth being just minutely bigger. A very active planet, but in ways a bit different to our own. Venus has mountains and volcanoes. Venus is also rather peculiar as it spins in the opposite direction to the earth and it spins much slower than earth and many of the other planets in our solar system.
Venus also lacks any moons, much like Mercury.
How long does it take Venus to Orbit?
Venus travels around the sun in an off-set oval. Regardless of the planet, one full rotation around the sun creates a year.
Venus completes this journey around the sun, a bit faster than we do, doing it in 225 earth days, or what we may know as around 7 and a half months. It travels at a bit more than 78 thousand miles per hour.
Venus’ orbit and rotation are unusual and fascinate many astronomers, it is just one of two planets that rotate from east to west rather than west to east as we do. Uranus is the other planet that does this. Despite its unusual orbit and rotation it also has the most circular orbit around the sun of any of the other planets in the solar system, including us.
How long is a day on Venus?
Venus rotates on its axis much, much slower than earth does. A singular venus day takes 243 earth days. This is the longest day of any planet in our solar system and if longer even that a whole year on venus which is 225 earth days.
But the sun does not rise and set on each day on venus like it does here or on most other planets. A day-night cycle on Venus takes 117 earth days, this is because Venus rotates in the opposite direction to earth and some other planets, so this also makes it rotate in the opposite direction of its orbital revolution around the sun as well.
Venus’ rotation is very slow, and Scientists think there may be a few reasons for this, one of them simply being because of how close it is to the sun. Mercury also suffers from slow rotation, although not quite as slow as venus. With there being around three days in a Mercury year.
Venus also has a very thick atmosphere with all its heavy gasses and heat. What is even more fascinating in recent years is how it seems that Venus is rotating 6.5 minutes slower than it was 16 years ago. This was discovered after mapping the surface of the planet. The conclusion of this correlates with along-term radar observations that have been taken from our planet.
So it is thought that perhaps this may be a result of its very thick atmosphere and high-speed winds. Due to a very heavy blanket of Co2 in the air, the surface pressure on Venus is 90 times what we experience here on earth and it has clouds of sulphuric acid that whip around it at hurricane speeds.
Might its hostile atmosphere be slowing it down?
Why does it rotate the other way?
There are a few theories as to why Venus spins the other day, but scientists are still a bit baffled by Venus; retrograde rotation. There are a few theories, and one of these is that Venus may have at one point spun as we do.
But somehow it simply, flipped its axis, perhaps it’s just upside down? One could argue that perhaps a large enough collision could have done this. But there are more theories, one that we believe a little more is that the sun’s gravitational pull on this planet’s very dense atmosphere could have caused tides.
These tides when combined with heavy friction between the mantle and core within venus’ crust could have caused it to flip. Finally, some believe that it never flipped, that perhaps its rotation simply slowed, stopped, and then started in the other direction as a result of gravitational pull from the sun as well as tidal effects from other planets.
What would it be like to stand on Venus?
If you are looking to take a vacation any time soon, we don’t recommend Venus. Its surface is rather savage.
It is very hot and dry, it has two large highland areas that are similar to the size of Australia and South America. It is rich in mountains and Volcanoes, the highest of its mountains being Maxwell Montes, which is 7 miles tall and higher than Mt.Everest.
It does not even have many craters, as any meteor that comes to face it usually burns up in its thick, violent sulphuric atmosphere. Even if you did still think this would be a nice place to take a trip to for spring break, we really suggest not going there.
Because you would not survive here, forget not being able to breathe the air of this planet, but you wouldn’t even be able to make it to the surface as the atmosphere is so heavy it would crush you and is so hot you would burn up immediately.
Venus is a fascinating planet with plenty of quirks but perhaps not the ideal vacation location.